scottlenger.com was created May 18, 2005 and a much improved version two was later released April of 2007. Why a revision you ask? Quite frankly, both I and the web are at different places than we were 2 years ago particularly in terms of how the web is used and the code that more modern browsers like Firefox and IE7 can support. More specifically, I also had a desire to bring all of my content into the Wordpress open source blogging CMS that part of my original site was built on. The redesign also provided an opportunity for several other enhancements.
Make no mistake, my previous site was built using lean and mean standards compliant XHTML and CSS, only now the code is…well, leaner and meaner (and stricter)! I’m also particularly excited about the condensed CSS organization I’ve devised. Perhaps it’s my lack of a background in programming, but in viewing other developers style sheets I soon grew tired of scrolling down pages and pages of code that was only 20 or so characters wide. After working with my method on the Duke Law redesign, I’m sold on how easier it makes finding elements and comparing different sections of the CSS document. I’ll be explaining it in more detail soon, but you can get a head start by looking at my CSS.
As I mentioned, this site is run almost entirely through Wordpress. I’ve become quite familiar with Wordpress while working on other projects to the point where I can pretty much get it to do what I want. Wordpress also saves me a lot of time through the many plugins that are available. At present I’m using:
- The Akismet spam killer
- The Bad Behavior spam rejector
- The self proclaimed ultimate spam killer Spam Karma
- Brett Taylor’s Official Comments
- Krischan Jodies Recent Comments for the homepage
- The ever popular Ultimate Tag Warrior for the post tags
- Rob Miller’s Now Reading to simplify my reading list
- Elijah Cornell’s unfortunately convoluted Falbum for the flickr photos (I’m hoping to replace this with something of my own, down the road)
In addition, I’ve also created a custom php filter that reads the category id and displays the appropriate section graphic and darkens the navigation text.
Getting the navigation text to bottom align was also a bit tricky. During testing I realized that Mac’s bold is…well, bolder, and that the helvetica a little extra loving. So I threw together a basic php browser conditional that gives Safari users a specific stylesheet and Mac users (or more correctly Mac users running firefox) their own sheet as well.
As time went by it became obvious that my previous site might be suffering from overdesign. Overdesign can happen when too many graphic elements crowd a page making the actual content difficult for the visitor to parse. For version 2 I aimed for a cleaner, modern look to display the content free from clutter. The simplicity (both internal and external) will hopefully allow me to make design changes easily, and frequently.
The present site has been particularly influenced by the following:
- Khoi Vinh’s "Subtraction"
- Dave Shea’s "Mezzoblue"
- Chris J Davis’s "chrisjdavis.org"
- Jesse Von Doom’s "Dutch Money" (and his design’s for the Duke Law 2007 redesign)
What does Christianity have to do with the design of this site? Well, it seems that there has been a surge in Christian discussion about the Church’s need for good design. Unfortunately, absent from most of this discussion is a concern for theological implications in design. Part of my site design is an effort to reshape Christian thinking about design. At the time of this posting, the site has a strong presence of yellow (gold) on the links, headings, and footer. The color was chosen because it represents the season of Easter within the Church Calendar. When Pentecost arrives, the color palate of this site will change to red. The purpose is, consistent with that of the Church, to help bring to mind the identity of the Church, presently: Yellow and/or Gold as representative of Christ as King and light of the world.
* For the time being the color change happens manually, but at some point I hope to write a program that will make this change automatic.
If you’ve made it this far you’ve achieved a small measure of vested interest in my site (or you’re my mother). Either way, as a freelance developer I’m rather isolated at times so I’d love any feedback you have regarding the site whether visual, technical, or even theological. Thanks for visiting.